Following a successful period of wrestling over winter break, the Cardinals (6-7) headed up to Springfield, Mass. to compete in a dual match against Springfield College. Despite winning four of the nine matches scheduled, the wrestlers fell to the Pride this past Saturday by a score of 25-12.
“Our team record after the Springfield loss is 6-7,” wrote Head Coach Drew Black in an email to The Argus. “Not ideal, but we are a team which means everyone needs to be ready to compete at anytime. We have had many injury issues and a couple making the right weight class issues which have hindered the team in having stronger success, but I am very pleased with the way many of our wrestlers have stepped in and stepped up to compete for the Cardinals.”
Wins for the Cardinals included junior James Hamilton at 141 pounds over Springfield’s David Colvin by a 7-4 margin, as well as Chris Siracusa ’16 in the 157 weight class by a score of 4-2. Simon Levin ’16 and Isaiah Bellamy ’18 continued their hot streaks, both posting victories. Levin defeated the Pride’s Devin Hurst 7-3 at 184 pounds, while Bellamy beat Hunter Ayen by a margin of 6-2.
Despite their four victories, the Cardinals were unable to come away with the victory due to some hard-fought losses to the Pride. Joe Koshakow ’17, who has won some big matches for the Cardinals recently, lost at 174 pounds by a score of 13-5. At the always tough heavyweight, John San Filippo ’16 lost by a one point margin. At 133 pounds, Frank Crippen ’17 fell to Derek Adams 6-2, while Robert Rosenberg ’17 succumbed to injury at 149 pounds.
Head Coach Drew Black provided feedback on the performances of many of his wrestlers for The Argus.
“Frank Crippen is having a very strong sophomore season and has been one of our most consistent wrestlers at 133,” he wrote. “DJ Lemieux [’17] has stepped in at 141 and is competing hard, picking up some key wins for the team, Ed Pierce [’17] is another tough, consistent wrestler with some big wins over top opponents at 149. Chris Siracusa, a junior captain, is beginning to open up more in matches and is building his confidence with each match. Keonmin Hwang [’16] has stepped in at 165 and has also competed very tough, along with fellow teammate Carter Armendarez [’18] at this same weight. Our senior captain Ryan Sblendorio has been out with an injury the past 3 weeks, but he will be back for our home opener on Saturday vs. rival Williams, Southern Maine, and SUNY Oneonta. In his absence, it has enabled Joe Koshakow to get quality mat-time and success.”
Black went on to praise his wrestlers, focusing on some of the first-year talent.
“Freshman Dominic Pirraglia, a 184 lb. competitor, has been filling in at 197 for injured Isaiah Bellamy,” Black wrote. “Dominic is wrestling tough and has gotten a few key wins and pins to keep the team moving forward. At 184, junior Simon Levin has been very consistent; he has tremendous talent. He will be a force come the end of the season to deal with at our Northeast Regional Wrestling Championships. We also, just got back our top freshman, Isaiah Bellamy, who had been out since [Dec. 6] with an injury. In his return, he is 4-0 with a huge win vs. his Springfield opponent, Hunter Ayen, who placed 4th in the region last year, just missing a bid to the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Isaiah beat Hunter 6-2.”
Junior captain James Hamilton had a few words to share about the team so far this season.
“The season so far has been challenging but rewarding,” he said. “We have had a really tough schedule and have been competing and winning despite it.”
When asked about the success of young wrestlers contributing to team success this year, Hamilton offered plaudits for his teammates.
“It has been great to see young wrestlers like Isaiah [Bellamy] and [Frank] Crippen really step up and perform at the highest level,” Hamilton said.
According to Hamilton, the team anticipates a big slate of wrestling in the coming weeks.
“We are looking forward to our home duals, and senior night. We [hope] to pick up momentum [from those events] and peak for NCAA regionals.”
The team wrestles at home the next two weekends, with Williams, Oneonta, and Southern Maine coming to Middletown next weekend. The following weekend, Oswego, Johnson and Wales, and Hunter College will be in town to take on the Cardinals. The team’s season concludes March 13 and 14 at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Hershey, Penn.
“We should be back to full team strength to finish our February run,” Black said. “We have six home dual meets remaining, Saturday Feb. 7 at noon and Sunday, Feb. 15 in the Silloway Gymnasium vs. national power Johnson & Wales, Hunter College, and SUNY Oswego. We are looking at putting together a strong winning run here and building our confidence going into the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships being held at Roger Williams on Feb. 28 and March 1.”